Pssst…Hey, it’s Diana Gabaldon — here, at the Ball!

 

Photo credit: Judy Lowstuter (taken at Culloden House, Inverness, Scotland, 2010)

Diana Gabaldon is the author of the New York Times #1 bestelling, international award-winning OUTLANDER series (including the Lord John Grey novels), described by Salon magazine as “the smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting “Scrooge McDuck” comics.”

Here’s what Diana has to say about her newly released novel:  I’m thrilled by the advent of THE SCOTTISH PRISONER.  I never like to do things I’ve already done, and I haven’t here; SCOTTISH PRISONER is a hybrid novel–something between the “Big” books of the OUTLANDER series and the shorter Lord John ones.  It’s set in 1760, and is an adventure/crime/historical novel (with occasional sex and more frequent violence), featuring Jamie Fraser and Lord John in equal measure.  If you’d like a brief preview, the first 19 pages are available on Scribd, here:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/71357887/The-Scottish-Prisoner-by-Diana-Gabaldon-Excerpt

(It’s worth clicking that link just to read the first line of the book!)

Best of all, Diana will be giving a free copy of THE SCOTTISH PRISONER to a lucky Debutante Ball reader. The contest is open to everyone. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment.

 

 

Diana has agreed to take the Deb interview today:

 

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Gabaldon’s Three Rules for Becoming a Writer:

1. Read.  Read a lot, read everything.  This is where you find out what you like and what you don’t like (and it’s a total waste of time to try to write something you don’t like just because you think it might sell—it won’t, believe me)—and also where you begin to learn the craft of writing.

You read two books in the same genre, for instance, and think, “I like this one a lot, that one, not quite so much.  Why is that?”  Well, the first one has better characters; they seem realer.   Oh?  And why is that?  Mmmm….I think it’s the way they talk.   These people sound like people really sound, and the other one’s kind of wooden.   OK.  How did the writer do that?

‘Cuz everything a writer does is right there on the page; there’s no way to hide your techniques. <g>  If you look carefully and read with attention, you’ll start to see things—for instance, that good dialogue usually consists of short sentences and brief paragraphs, while bad dialogue tends to drone on and have convoluted sentences.  Or that good dialogue never tells you stuff that the characters already know—whereas a bad writer will often use dialogue as a way of info-dumping on the reader.  That kind of thing.

2. Write.  Unfortunately, this is the only way of actually learning to write.  You can read all the books you want, and take classes in creative writing, and they may be useful—but nothing will actually teach you to write, except the act of putting words on the page.

3. And the last rule is the most important:

DON’T STOP!!

 

What are the hardest and easiest things about your job?

Photo credit: Loretta McKibben, Bubonicon 2011, Albuquerque, NM

Putting words on paper.

Smiling at people who want to take my picture.

 

What three things would you want with you if stranded on a desert island?

A hooded cloak

A really long book

A comb

 

Do you have any phobias?

Yes, I have intermittent—but severe—claustrophobia.  I never did, until my first visit to Scotland, when my husband and I visited the tower at Glenfinnan that memorializes Charles Stuart’s landing there.  You can go up the stone tower, via a spiral staircase, and we did.  While doing this, I had such a horrible attack of claustrophobia that I broke out in a cold sweat and could scarcely breathe.  Gasped and quivered when we burst out into the fresh air on top of the tower—and had there been any way of climbing down the _outside_ of the tower, I would certainly have done it.

Since there wasn’t, I had my husband go down to the bottom and promise not to let anyone come up the stairs until I made it down (the stairway was too narrow to pass people).  Then I thundered downstairs like a load of  freight, making it out in ten seconds flat.

I mentioned this later, to a friend of mine who works as a psychic and Life Coach (as he tells me, most people’s problems are both common, and psychological in origin—and he does have a degree in psychology—but his clients are much more inclined to do what he advises if they think he’s telling them things based on his psychic abilities, rather than simple common sense).  Anyway, when I told him that I was astonished that this should have happened, as I’d never had claustrophobia before, he said quite casually, “Oh, it’s not yours.”

Now, mind, I don’t believe in reincarnation, but my friend does.  Upon my demanding to know what he meant by _that_, he told me that the claustrophobia belonged to one of my past lives—adding that most likely I’d been walled up or buried alive, and that when I encountered a similar circumstance in the tower, that memory came back.

“Uh…huh,” I said.  “Right.”  However, I do find it helpful, when obliged to enter something like a very small plane, to tell myself that the claustrophobia isn’t ‘mine.’  I kind of hope I wasn’t buried alive in a previous life, but even if this is no more than a simple mind-game, it does help.

 

What’s your next big thing?  (new book, new project, etc.)

Well, I normally do work on more than one project at once; it keeps me from ever having writer’s block.  I learned to do this back in the day when I had two full-time jobs (being a university professor—I’m a biologist by training, with a Ph.D. in <deep breath> Quantitative Behavioral Ecology (it’s just animal behavior with a lot of statistics, don’t worry about it), but had slid sideways into being an “expert” in scientific computation (don’t worry about that one, either <g>; it’s just the use of computers in scientific research—and it’s really easy to be an expert if only six people in the world do what you do, which was my position back then)—and a free-lance writer for the computer press) and three small children under the age of six.

I wrote all the time for my jobs, had for reasons unknown decided that now was the time to begin writing a novel—and pretty much had to keep things moving.

Now, everybody sticks.  No matter what I’m writing, I stick two-thirds of the way down the page: nonfiction, essay, fiction, textbook, you name it.  The normal thing to do when stuck is get up.  Go to the bathroom, get coffee, take the dog for a walk…the thing is, most people who leave their work don’t come back, which is why they don’t finish their books.  I couldn’t do that.

So I quickly learned that when something stuck—a grant proposal, say—I should just take the next thing on my work-pile—a tutorial, a software review assignment from Byte—and start working on that.  When that one stuck—as inevitably it would—I’d check the first thing.  If that was still stuck, I’d pull up the scene of the novel I was working on and work there for  a bit.  By the time that one stuck, my subconscious would have found a point d’appui for one of the others, and I could go on with that.  The whole process, though, kept me sitting there and constantly productive.

I no longer (thank GOD!) write grant proposals or software reviews, but the same principle holds.  Therefore, I have a sort of mental work-pile, and while I may be working on one main project—at the moment this is the eighth book in the Outlander series, a novel titled WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD (I hope to finish writing it by the end of 2012—no, there’s no pub date)—I’ll either be writing multiple bits of the book (I don’t write with an outline and I don’t write in a straight line, so can easily do this), and/or will be cycling back and forth with one or more other projects in the pile.

I have, for instance, been writing THE SCOTTISH PRISONER concurrently with WRITTEN for the last year.  SCOTTISH PRISONER being substantially shorter and much less complex, I finished that first—it was released November 29th.

I’ve also done intermittent work on Volume II of THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION—that’s nonfiction, which is much less mentally demanding to write than fiction, so on a day when nothing is happening for me, I’ll sometimes turn to that—THE CANNIBAL’S ART (a book I’m desultorily working on, about writing), and a contemporary crime novel (this is about half-done; it’ll move up to the top of the pile, once WRITTEN is done), and occasional short pieces for anthologies.  (“Lord John and the Plague of Zombies” is the most recent of these—it came out Oct. 4th in an anthology titled DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS.)

 

What is the best perk of your job?

Not having to get up at dawn and go to work.   I am not a morning person—in fact, my prime working time is between midnight and 4 AM—and for fourteen bloody years, until I graduated from high school, I’d sit groggily on the edge of my bed at 7:00 AM (the absolute nadir of existence, if you ask me), contemplating the struggle of getting dressed and the horror of being forced to eat (without appetite) the sort of repellent things that people think are appropriate for breakfast (I prefer left-over enchiladas, myself.  Or Russell Stover dark-chocolate Coconut Cream Easter eggs.  Cereal…blah.  Runny scrambled eggs…bleagh), and every single morning I’d swear to myself, “Someday, as God is my witness, I am not going to have to do this.”

As it was, I did it—or some approximation—until the age of forty, which is when I quit my job as a university professor and became a full-time writer.  (Mind, I didn’t get to sleep until 9 –my preferred getting-up time—until all the kids finally grew up, but at least my beloved husband—who is a morning person—was willing to hoick them all out of bed, feed them breakfast, and chivvy them into their clothes; I just hauled out in time to take them to school.)

 

Has anyone ever thought one of your characters was based on them?

No, but they all think the main female character is me.  Which is patent nonsense.

Let’s put it this way:  I was once having tea with a group of fans, who started talking about Black Jack Randall (a particularly nasty sexual sadist, albeit one with a sense of humour).  “Oh, he’s so loathsome…I can’t stand him, he’s such scum…he just makes my skin crawl!”   And all the time I was sitting there quietly sipping my Earl Grey and thinking, “You have no idea you’re talking to Black Jack Randall, do you?”

I mean…all of them are me.  It isn’t a question of attachment; that’s like asking whether I’m more attached to my left foot than to the back of my head.  That said, some characters are much more accessible to me than others; they talk to me easily, and I understand them instinctively, without a great deal of work.  Others take much more effort before I grasp their essence.

Naturally, I tend to enjoy the mushrooms and onions more than I do the hard nuts (a mushroom is someone I didn’t intend and wasn’t expecting, who just pops up and walks off with a scene; an onion is someone whose essence I apprehend immediately and intimately, but the longer I work with them, the more layers they develop, and the more pungent and well-rounded they become.  A hard nut is just what he or she sounds like)—but they do all come from the same place.

 

BONUS! Diana talks about her writing process:

WRITING IN PIECES

I don’t write with an outline, and I don’t write in a straight line.  (What fun would that be?)

What I need when I sit down to write is a kernel.  A kernel can be anything: a vivid image, a line of dialogue, an emotional ambiance, the smell of a fart…anything at all that I can sense concretely.  You get kernels from anywhere and everywhere; everything a writer sees, hears, smells, touches, tastes, thinks, or is told forms the mental compost from which ideas sprout in the dark space under your brain (and here you thought it was just termites down there…).

If I come up to my office to work and it’s what I call a “cold” day (meaning I knew how to write yesterday, but seem to have forgotten how overnight), I usually pick up an inspiration of some kind off my bookshelves. (I have thousands of inspirations to hand, ranging from books—mostly books—to toy cannon, silver quaichs full of stones and crystals,  a 19th-century cobbler’s hammer, a medieval chessman, a life-sized crystal skull, (well, it’s plastic resin, but you’d never know, and if you’re walking through your imagination, there’s no difference at all), the shell of a giant clam (that’s its genus, Tridacna, giant clam; the shell itself is only about six inches across, though they do get as big as three feet or so (these are the kind of clams reputed to clamp onto an unwary foot and drown the hapless beachcomber, though I don’t know as how there are any reliably documented instances of this), a handful of horse chestnuts, picked on Guy Fawkes’ Day in the UK, a bevy of little glass bottles filled with herbs and potions (I have a peppermint one that’s meant to  clear the sinuses, but by and large, you’d do better with a generous blast of wasabi), knives (I love knives, I have lots, ranging from a one-inch penknife that won’t offend the TSA to a Highland dirk that a nice Canadian gentleman made for me), two Jewish “widow’s mite” coins from the time of the Crucifixion, and several feather amulets.  (Don’t ask me why, but almost all authors keep feathers in their offices.  It’s probably Symbolic, though whether it’s urging your spirit to fly through the medium of words—and you’d have to write a whole lot faster than I do even to work up a decent taxi-way, let alone achieve take-off—or is an unsubtle warning not to be a chicken, I can’t tell you.))

Once I have a kernel in hand—well, in mind—I sit down and write a line or two describing it, as best I can.  Then I sit there and fiddle, taking words out, putting them back in, shuffling clauses—and all the time, the back of my mind is kicking through the compost, asking random questions: What time of day is it?  How does the light fall?  Is the room cold?  Did someone just say something? Who’s that dog, I’ve never seen him before…

And—very slowly—things start to emerge, and if I’m lucky, people show up and start talking, and I go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth…  I will have been through a scene literally hundreds of times by the time it’s finished, but then it is finished—or at least it’s as good as I can make it.  So I leave it alone and go find another kernel.

Now, the next question, of course, is—SO, you’ve got handsful of disconnected scenes; how the heck do you assemble those into a coherent story?

Let’s see <groping for a decent metaphor…it’s not really possible to talk about writing without using metaphors>…

You know how a kaleidoscope works, right?  (To save anybody having to Google it—essentially, you have a tube with two or three rectangular mirrors in it, oriented at angles, which make multiple symmetric reflections of whatever colored objects you put at the front end of the tube.)  Well, imagine that I have a three-mirrored kaleidoscope:  one mirror is the historical plane of reflection—the events, the timeline, the cultural/intellectual milieu, the physical settings and constraints.  The second is the plane of reflection that concerns the characters—who they are, their motivations, their personal histories.  And the third is my own plane of reflection—the background, experiences, perceptions, and personality that make me unique.

OK.   So say I have a handful of these disparate scenes.  Placed in the space formed by my three mirrors, they form patterns. And if I rotate the tube (so to speak), this causes the pieces inside to fall into a different relationship to each other, and I see different patterns.  Some patterns are naturally more pleasing than others, and I use the ones that seem most aesthetically logical.  (Occasionally I do have a piece that just isn’t necessary in the overall pattern, in which case I take it out and hang onto it—it generally “goes” somewhere in the next book.)

Hearing about this process does, btw, often infuriate people who write linearly.  I once had a woman sitting on a panel on writing processes with me inform me that I couldn’t possibly do this, because “you have to have a logical foundation!  You can’t put the roof on your building unless you’ve built solid walls to hold it up, can you?”

“Of course I can,” I replied.  “There’s no gravity in the mind, after all.  I can make the roof and just leave it hanging there until I have time to build walls under it.   You don’t have to write a book from beginning to end, just because that’s how people will read it.”  She Wasn’t Pleased, but the point here is that people’s minds are wired up differently, and a good deal of writing successfully lies in figuring out how your own mind works best, and using it that way.  There is no “right” way to write a book.  Anything that lets you get words on the page is the right thing to do.

 

If you’re interested in learning more from Diana, she’s not hard to stalk track down on the internet:

Diana’s website: dianagabaldon.com

Or you can find her on Facebook here, and on Twitter (@Writer_DG) here.

 

Thank you so much for being with here at the Ball today, Diana! It’s a true pleasure.

[Note from Deb Linda: Okay, I admit it. Diana is my writing hero. When she agreed to be interviewed here, I felt like I’d just downed a two-cherry Manhattan with a chocolate chaser!]

Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win THE SCOTTISH PRISONER. Careful, though. If you haven’t read any DG before, you will get hooked.

 

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93 thoughts on “Pssst…Hey, it’s Diana Gabaldon — here, at the Ball!

  1. What a great interview. And, although I’m an editor not an author, it’s good to know that someone else entered this crazy business after first getting a doctorate in a somewhat obscure biological science. I’d love to win a copy of Diana’s newest book. The warning is too late. I’m already hooked, and I’ve already read all the Lord John and Outlander books. Even the graphic novel!

    • Hi Beth! Isn’t the graphic novel great? I had so much fun reading it — even rose to a new level of “cool” in my kids’ eyes. *grin*

  2. Thanks for posting the fun interview. I love seeing peoples’ answers to the island question!

  3. I enjoyed reading Diana’s thoughts on writing. I’d really enjoy getting a copy of The Scottish Prisoner.

  4. Love reading interviews with Diana… Avid reader … she makes me love getting lost in the books.. I would love to get a copy of Scottish Prisoner… – I’m sure I’ll get one regardless of leaving a comment here but you never get what you don’t ask for!! :}
    Thank you to Diana for being so accessible and open!

  5. What an AMAZING and VERY INSPIRING post. Thank you so much for being with us today, Diana! (Feeling a little fangirlish here)

  6. Great interview with my favorite author! I paid particular attention to her non-linear writing process as, from time to time, I toy with the idea of writing something more than a simple essay. Thinking about starting ANYWHERE with any random idea is appealing and do-able. There’s more than enough fodder out there. Many thanks for sharing the interview with us. Good on you!

  7. Thanks for the good interview. I always love to hear what Diana has to say. I think each time I’ve read something about/with Diana, I learn something new, this time was no exception.

  8. I just love Diana’s books and I think it is interesting how she writes. Definitely not my way of writing but I love to read the titbits about how she writes.

  9. Have read all of Diana’s, books several times, loved your interview with her. And thanks for bringing my attention to this site.

  10. Enjoyed your interview with Diana & your Website.
    An aside: Could her experience with claustrophobia in the tower could be viewed in yet another manner?
    If one carries their ancestor’s genetic essence at the cellular level, might their stories, also, exist as a cellular memory?
    Reincarnation, cellular memory, or metaphor?
    Take your pick!
    I am listening to The Scottish Prisoner via Audible.com, but I’d love to win a book copy!
    Thank you.
    Cheers!
    Barbara

    • I think cellular memory is a fascinating concept, and certainly worthy of consideration. Who can say for sure? No one, I guess, but it’s fun to speculate!

  11. I’ve been so looking forward to this interview–thank you, Diana, for visiting with us and for such a wealth of information–fun AND fascinating.

    I especially love the idea of the “kernel”–a perfect summation. I feel the same way, that it takes only that smallest breath of inspiration, that nugget, and lo! We’re off!

    Now, however, I am craving out-of-season Easter candy. Drat! 😉

  12. I love reading about other author’s writing habits. Thank you for sharing this – very inspirational!

  13. Great interview! There is a lot here that I haven’t heard Diana say before. I’d love a copy of THE SCOTTISH PRISONER; I’m listening to the audiobook already and it is _so_ good!

  14. I loved your comments for aspiring writers, but I think you can also use the advice to help people branch out their reading material as well. I have always compared one book against another, even from different genres, to determine if it is the writing or the genre that I like/dislike. It helped me venture into new and different authors. To be honest, your books have been the ones I frequently compare an author to, your writing is simply breathtaking and few compare to your skill. Thank you!

  15. I loved the interview. Especially the question about the phobia. This is a story I haven´t heard from Diana before and she can describe it so vividly.

  16. As always time spent with ‘Diana’ is always a true pleasure. Like a mystical magic journey – weaves you into her ‘spell’ of words – interesting, thought-provoking, funny, reflective! Diana’s skill and knowledge in presenting herself and her books – are so worth the journey! Words to paper become such a delight to read when written by Diana. I enjoy Diana’s writings – each new print is a treasure to read and enjoy! Thank-you, Diana for sharing.

  17. Great Interview. Very inspiring. My sister sent me Outlander for my birthday and now I’m making my husband listen to the audiobook with me. Can’t wait to read more of her books!

  18. Thank you for the very interesting and informative interview with Diana Gabaldon. She is definitely an “onion,” and I enjoyed “picking her brain” through your interview! I have read all the Outlander books, The Outlandish Companion, The Exile graphic novel, and some of the novellas. I would love to receive a copy of The Scottish Prisoner. Thank you.

  19. Great interview! I’m particularly fascinated by the non-linear writing process. Why I usually don’t have an idea what’s going to happen in my story, I do write linear. Kind of. Okay, pseudo-linear. Because once done, scenes need shuffling around and new scenes need to be added, others cut out. Huh. I guess, depending on the story, my writing style is anything from ‘linear’ to ‘pseudo-linear’ and ‘non-linear pretending to be linear just because’! Never looked at it this way! I also found I’m more productive if working on more than one project, simply because I can switch if one doesn’t work…

    Degrees in somewhat obscure biological sciences, or even mainstream biological sciences, are awesome! I love research, and often have experiments that have rather repetitive elements in them that don’t need much brain-power (but if you’re not meticulous, the outcome sucks) … others get bored but for me it’s the perfect time to think up scenes or work out some kinks. And to draw sheep on the back of my gloved hand (repetitive elements, remember? 5 repeats equals one sheep, body+head=1, each leg is 1 too 🙂 ).

    And of course I’d love a copy of the book. But who in their right mind wouldn’t?

  20. Some great advice and I definitely agree with read, read and read more. I think if you read from more than one genre it will really help as well. As a reader I read from many genres and enjoy them all. They keep things fresh from me and sometimes I see overlap in a genre but in a good way. Writing also sounds like a good way to start. I hear it’s great to get in the habit of writing routinely. Thank you for the interview. I’m looking forward to your book. 🙂

  21. I have not read any of your books Diana, yet. Having just read this interview though, I now see why so many of my friends are fans.

  22. My literary Goddess. Most of my free time is spent reading, and I have found very few that compare. I laugh at Diana’s comparison to Jack Randall…omg, what a dark, warped, and yes, somewhat witty, character. Love it!

  23. Thank you for connecting us with Diana! I am always fascinated when she gives insight into her creative process. I am also in awe of all that she has managed to accomplish and juggle in her short life! Makes me feel like a slacker

  24. Awesome interview! Can’t wait to read the next book in the Outlander series. Got my mother-in-law hooked on her too. Diana is one of the few writers who’s books I’ve read all the way through, twice. The characters are complex and real, the story rich with historical detail. Never boring, never dry and always leaves me wanting more. Thanks Diana for sharing them with all of us.

  25. two years ago I bought a Diana Gabaldon book at a second hand store, still can’t believe somebody read Outlander and had the courage to give it away… but I am glad this somebody did, because otherwise the chances are I wouldn’t have met the works of this wonderful writer! Inspired by the books I have visited Scotland, made my best friend a Gabaldon` addict and had some of the best time of my life in reading. I am telling you, these books can change a person`s life!

    Great interview! Thanks for posting it 🙂

  26. What a great interview. Have had the pleasure of seeing herself twice now at the Highland Games in Fergus. First time was a complete surprise as I didn’t know she’d be there. Would love the good luck of winning this book. I too have been addicted for soooo long! I get lots of eye rolls from my husband when he sees me re-reading her books once again!

  27. I have been a fan of Diana since Day 1! They take me yo another world and I always enjoy visiting with Jamie and Claire. I am obviously looking forward to reading this one!!

  28. My youngest daughter, Carla, introduced me to OUTLANDER and am currently reading VOYAGER. Actually I am listening via recorded books on the way to work. It certainly helps make the commute more interesting.Husbands should really appreciated their wives re-reading these books instead of rolling their eyes!

  29. What a great interview! I love learning that Diana does not write with an outline. And what she says about how all writers are wired different echoes my own understanding of the process. Love the mushroom, onion and hard nut analogy for character…Also how she admits to those days where she feels ‘she has forgotten how to write’, and the wonderful method to get past the feeling.
    This was all just warm and down to earth and wonderful and inspiring. Thank you so much Diana, and Debs!!

  30. How do you come up with this stuff? You have the most amazing mind. I want to give a big kiss on the lips to whomever taught you to write, and I’ll bet your mom had something to do with it. Bless you, Diana. You’re a great gift to this world! Happy holidays! – Lizz Grimes

  31. I sooo love Diana’s writing! And the fact that Diana has Jack Randall somewhere in there.. well, that is just plain awesome! I’d like to know what makes him tick, what are his weaknesses and so on, and Diana might just one day answer to all these questions.
    And I just can’t wait to read The Scottish Prisoner!

    Thanks for the interview! 🙂

  32. I am totally addicted to Diana’s books. I discovered them this past July and was fortunate enough to read them from beginning to end, interspersing the Lord John stories in the appropriate sequence. I have been living in that time period in my mind since I picked up Outlander. I think it is starting to drive my husband nuts.

    I also have a degree in biology, botany actually, although not a Ph.D., and I really enjoy the way Diana has researched her plants and plant usages when they they appear in the books. I, too, am in awe of how productive Diana is. I can write reasonably well for the scientific articles required for my job, but producing fiction is way beyond me. She is immensely talented.

    I’d love a copy of the Scottish Prisoner. I live in northern BC, and my bookstore doesn’t carry all of the regular Outlander series, never mind Lord John.

  33. I have enjoyed Diana’s books since shortly after Outlander was published. I have only recently (last two year or so) discovered the forum on Compuserve and Diana’s homepage, and enjoy the insight into the person and the mind behind my favorite books of all time.

  34. Terrific interview. I too appreciated the mushrooms, onions and nuts analogy. I’d love to have a mind like hers!

  35. There is no absolute right way to write, or to live for that matter. Each author must find her own way. I love the ideas sprouting from mental compost imagery, though fungus would perhaps be more appropriate than termites.

  36. Great interview! I have been a fan of Diana’s for well over 10 years now and I always look forward to the escape that comes with her writing. The depth of her characters is unparalleled, that’s why we love them so. She is the only author whose works I’ve read more than once. Of all the scenes in all the books, the one that continually slays me and makes me weep is the one in Voyager in which Jamie is in his print shop and Claire has traveled back in time to be with him again. When Jamie sees Claire for the first time…tissue please! I love it. I’m really looking forward to reading The Scottish Prisoner.

  37. What a wonderful iinterview with such a wonderful author. Herself is one #1 favorite author. I would read the telephone book authored by her because I just absolutely know she would make it unique.

  38. What a wonderful interview! Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to hang out in Her mind, and this interview gives us a glimpse of what that might be like. Thank you to The Debutante Ball for the interview, and thank you to Diana for delighting us with your answers.

  39. Have always loved the Outlander Series and all of her other series. Jamie just sounds so hot and perfect!! LOL. Can’t wait to read the complete novel!!

  40. I can’t beleive I waited 18 years to start reading Diana’s books!!! A friend (one I trust a lot!) gave me the first one summer before last as I was recouperating from shoulder surgery, and desperate for some reading material…needless to say, I devoured the whole series, and had to wait for Echo…now my very favorite author!!!!<3<3<3

  41. Diana can I be on the desert island too? Always entertaining to hear your take on writing and life. Moran taing!

  42. Thank you for the wonderful interview !
    I´m writing too and love to read about her writing process. 🙂

  43. Reading this interview is like reading her books…..lots of details leading to insights leading to just wanting to read more. 🙂

  44. Her novels are as real as her interview here and as vastly engaging as our Ms. Gabaldon. I hope that she never concludes the Outlander series or the Lord John spinoffs. Thank you for providing this place for more exposure!

  45. Love this interview! Diana’s books are the absolute best – I’ve never found anything that compares to her novels and I’m totally addicted to them. She is an unbelievably gifted woman.

  46. Thanks for this interview and every other way we can get close to Diana.
    Reading her characters is just like living right next to them. Reading about her writing process is inspiring and helps us figure out how those characters actually became so real. Not to mention… reading Diana’s books in English (I read Outlander in Italian and switched to the original version for all the following books) is sooo great for increasing my vocabulary and learning how to write in “real” English language: I sometimes find myself using Claire’s or Jamie’s words… and none of my friends know where the heck they came from. 🙂
    Thank you!

  47. Diana’s books are fabulous. She manages to capture the best qualities of my favorite genres in her books.

  48. Great interview! I think the best statement was that all of Diana’s characters are a part of her. What an intriguing image!

  49. I find myself drawn back to the Outlander books again and again, even if I’m reading other things, I am always “in” one of them. Just finised “Echo in the Bone” so I have started “Outlander” again. I feel like Claire, Jamie, and everyone else are real, and can’t wait to see the next installment in their lives. Thank you Diana for writing something for those of us who read everything!

  50. My favourite writer! It’s agonizing knowing the new book is out and i can’t read it but I’ve put it on my Christmas list so I have to wait to see if someone gets it for me! If not, that’s me in the bookstore as soon as i can after the holiday! I may need to reread the whole Outlander series again before book 8!

  51. Thank you, Diana, for giving us this “other world” ! I went to Scotland after reading about our precious Claire & Jamie and “friends” !

  52. Fantastic interview! Plenty little gems of info and inspiration for writers and DG fans! I’m anxiously waiting in line at the library for my turn to read The Scottish Prisoner. Fingers crossed for the win! Does it help that I named my daughter after Claire’s? My Bree is turning into quite the fiery one as well!

  53. Thanks for this interview. I’ve followed the Outlander books from the first and have hooked my mom, dad, and sister. This fall, I introduced my husband to Claire and Jamie. We listen to the audiobooks on our road trips. I think we’ve fallen in love again, but this time, it’s a four-some.

  54. Thank you, Diana, for your wonderful characters and for telling everyone in your interviews that creativity doesn’t follow a set of rules and can’t be taught. Your writing is proof!

  55. Hello from a fellow writer! My mom turned me onto your books. I always read them in the car before I walk to my work building. Sometimes I’m late and it’s all your fault!

    Geillis and Black Jack are my favorites.

  56. This interview was so inspiring! I feel like interviews such as these should all be put together and published into a book so I can refer to it whenever I am needed advice or inspiration in my own works! Thank you so much for sharing this.

    MizzBell.ArmyWife

  57. Your “rules of writing” are right up my alley! I love your writing; your characters, your imagery, everything. I am so happy I just found you – I got to read all 7 books in a row without waiting for publication. Actually, I listened to them on Playaways. I heard the accents and I understand Gaelic so well,now! I am reading Lord John Grey to keep me busy until I get a copy of The Scottish Prisoner. Happy Holidays to you and yours – keep on writing
    Lisa Paul

  58. Great interview, thanks Diana. Love all the Outlander and Lord John books, just finishing up The Scottish Prisoner.

  59. Just met Diana for the first time at the Scottish Prisoner release , flew there just for it after 18 years of reading her addicting , amazing books. I love the part abouut the “stuff and things” on her bookshelves and how it inspires her ( i can relate) . I am forwarding this on to my friend – an aspiring writer and newly addicted Lord John fan . Diana thank you for Jamie and Claire and all the other players in this alternate reality i love . kim

  60. Diana thank you for writing the Outlander series! My sister gave me the first book about 4 years ago and I haven’t put them down since. It has been a great story to share with my sister and has brought us closer. I am a huge Pride and Prejudice fan because love broke through all sterotypes but Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth don’t hold a candle to the love that spans time and generations of Jamie and Claire. I am patiently waiting for Written to come out.

  61. I feel so blessed to have been handed my first outlander book three years ago! Since then I have read all the books in the series and recently began the Lord John books. Diana, I absolutely LOVE your work! You are an amazing writer and very inspiring! Last year I began writing (again, i did some writing before i married, had children, etc.)I could proabably say I am about half done with the book (don’t expect it to be published seeing as I am unsure of how good it really is…) But, I love writing and you helped bring that part of me back. You and your work have been such a blessing to my life! Thankyou.

  62. I just want to say that Diana Gabaldon is an amazing author. I started reading her Outlander series about 7.5 years ago and have read the first 5 books in the series 3 times now. Life has since caught up with me, so I am not able to read as much as I would like, but I would like to throw out a thank you to her. She was my inspiration to compete in the “NaNo WriMo” competition this year. I would like to think that one day I might be able to meet Diana Gabaldon, and get to know the woman that created the whole Claire/Jamie romance. Thank you so much. You are unaware of how you have my life and many others.

  63. Hoick. Great word.

    I sit and squint and try to understand how DG’s writing life/method works, hearing about patterns helps and kernels, too. Intricate and beautiful.

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